Inspiring words is what Word Vancouver is all about

Dec 19 2017, 8:07 pm

The annual festival of reading and writing returns early this fall, celebrating Canadian literary talents, and its 20th anniversary too. This year, look forward to 100 readings, 150 authors, and 20 workshops.

The main festival day is Sunday, September 28, with events at various venues throughout the city from September 24 to 27.

The Vancouver Book and Magazine Fair Society produced the former The Word On The Street Vancouver festival between 1995 and 2012, which was rebranded as Word Vancouver in 2013. Over the span of two decades, the festival has expanded from a single day event to a five-day event, attracting thousands of local, Canadian, and international festival-goers to its events. Word Vancouver has become Western Canada’s largest celebration of reading and writing primarily by remaining 100 per cent free and providing all-ages programming, making it inclusive and accessible.

Book lovers can help To Keep It Free – we encourage and appreciate any form of support via our Keeping It Free campaign in the following ways: Donate online through the Indiegogo site; adopt a festival author for $100; bid on an item at the annual Silent Auction; become a member for $20; purchase merchandise, like a festival t-shirt; or, make a donation online at

From Wednesday to Friday, experience author readings at venues: The Paper Hound, Banyen Books & Sound, The Cottage Bistro, Christianne’s Lyceum, and Historic Joy Kogawa House. On Saturday, take part in free professional development workshops at Library Square OR a workshop on chapbooks happening at the SFU Harbour Centre. Join us on Sunday in and around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library (350 W Georgia St, between Robson and Georgia and Hamilton and Homer). This year’s programming includes readings, panel discussions, professional development workshops, entertainment, and the exhibitor marketplace.

Weekend Events

Sunday, in and around Library Square:

Mainstage – David C. Jones provides side-splitting comedy as your Festival Central host. Entertainment includes family-friendly storytelling, musical duo Jillian Christmas and Chelsea D. E. Johnson, and reigning Youth Poetry Slam Champions: the 2014 Youth Van Slam Team.

Around the Site – Dance with Ninjinsky Gibber Jazz Club, and the Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy dragon boat team. In between steps, come bid on travel items like a Trip to Quesnel at the annual Silent Auction in support of this very festival.

Kids Lit, Kids Words – Young children are invited to partake in hands-on activities, such as sketching illustrations for their favourite book and juggling with international performer Too Tall Jerry. All day, children will be delighted by readings from over a dozen esteemed authors; to name a few: Roy Miki and Slavia Miki, Ashley Spires, and Sarah Ellis.

Poetry On The Bus – Poets include Jane Munro, Catherine Owen, Janet Rogers, Henry Rappaport, and Dina Del Bucchia. Special features: The World Poetry Reading Series and Poetry in Transit.

Words On Chapbooks – Check out this year’s exhibitors and readings, and don’t miss the panel discussion by experts Leah Horlick, Warren Dean Fulton, Kevin Spenst, and Jennifer Zilm, moderated by Heidi Greco.

Magazine Words – Delve into the world of magazines with presentations by Canadian literary magazines and panel discussions.

Canada Writes – Canadian writers of varying genres share passages from their works. Doretta Lau, Grant Lawrence, Nancy Lee, Ian Weir, Kevin Chong, Kim Fu, Caroline Adderson, and more.

Word Talks – Enjoy an afternoon of writing workshops, author readings, and panel discussions.

Writing Talks – Have your writing and publishing questions answered during professional development workshops.

Visual Exhibits – Upstairs in the promenade, find inspiration by watching demonstrations: Book-Making Demos, and Lettering and Bookmarks. Downstairs in the Moat, Sad Mag offers a creative look at Western Canada’s artists with its Suburbia Exhibition.

Saturday, Vancouver Public Library:

Celebrate chapbooks in the SFU Harbour Centre, Room 3000 and learn how to make your own from experts Heidi Greco and S.R. Duncan.

Alma Van Dusen Room – Professional development sessions for children’s literature authors, self-promoters and publishers.

Peter Kaye Room – Afternoon highlight: Former COO and publisher of Douglas & McIntyre, Jesse Finkelstein and Trena White, outline how to navigate the publishing road.

Venue Breakdown:

The Paper Hound – spend Wednesday afternoon with Kevin Spenst as he shares highlights from a beloved book, as part of a reading series founded by the venue.

Banyen Books & Sound – On Wednesday evening, learn about how Olga Kotelka inspired Bruce Grierson to write his bestseller What Makes Olga Run? followed by a signing. Add Mia Kalef’s latest book, The Secret Life of Babies, to your shelf – discover her thoughts at Thursday’s book launch.

The Cottage Bistro – Pandora Collective’s Bonnie Nish hosts an open mic on Thursday, open to all. Readings by Rita Wong, Jami Macarty, Lilija Valis, and Kevin Spenst.

Christianne’s Lyceum – Begin the weekend by celebrating the memory of Joan Betty Stuchner with canine-inspired stories shared by Caroline Adderson, Jacquie Pearce, Linda Bailey, and Cindy Heinrichs.

Historic Joy Kogawa House – Friday Fun: come for a public discussion of the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s latest production, Ga Ting, and a first-look at 2015’s Empire of the Son.

Word Vancouver

Sept. 24 to 28, 2014, various venues:

  • Wednesday Sept. 24: The Paper Hound (344 West Pender St.), 12:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday Sept. 24: Banyen Books & Sound (3608 West 4th Ave.), 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday Sept. 25: Banyen Books & Sound (3608 West 4th Ave.), 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday Sept. 25: The Cottage Bistro (4470 Main St.), 7 p.m.
  • Friday Sept. 26: Christianne’s Lyceum (3696 West 8th Ave.), 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday Sept. 26: Historic Joy Kogawa House (1450 West 64th Ave.), 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday Sept. 27: Central Branch, VPL (350 West Georgia St.), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday Sept. 27: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 3000, 1:30 p.m.
  • Sunday Sept. 28: Library Square (in and around VPL Central Branch), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Website: / Full program

Admission: Free as Word Vancouver is part of Culture Days.

Image by Word Vancouver

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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